May 12, 2021/Media, Press

As Crossover Week Continues, “Echoes Of Trumpism Continue To Dominate In The General Assembly”

Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly continue to push their extreme agenda, prioritizing bills that are out of touch with North Carolinians — especially during “a moment of ongoing crisis.” An editorial from NC Policy Watch writes that “Trumpian reaction remains the dominant theme” in the Republican-led legislature, as they rush to pass legislation that restricts women’s reproductive health care, micromanages teachers, punishes protestors, makes it harder to vote, and “the list goes on.”

“North Carolina Democrats have introduced legislation that will meet the moment, address the needs of working families, and work toward a recovery that lifts everyone up,” said Kate Frauenfelder, a spokeswoman for the North Carolina Democratic Party. “But Republicans remain locked into a toxic agenda that divides our state and moves us backward. It’s the last thing North Carolinians are looking for in their leaders as they work to recover from the challenges of the pandemic.”

NC Policy Watch: Echoes of Trumpism continue to dominate at the General Assembly

  • While his serial dishonesty and corruption, criminal negligence in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and complicity in a failed coup d’état clearly combined to make Donald Trump one of the worst presidents in American history, you have to hand the former chief executive one thing: the man continues to inspire slavish loyalty from his blinded followers.

  • In few places is this more evident than in the North Carolina General Assembly where, as lawmakers race to meet the May 13 “crossover deadline” by shoveling scores of minimally reviewed bills from one house to the other, Trumpian reaction remains the dominant theme.

  • If this sounds like an exaggeration, consider some of the bills that state legislative leaders have been prioritizing in the spring of 2021 – a moment of ongoing crisis in which hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians continue to suffer mightily from the devastating effects of deep and unprecedented health and economic crises:

  • Abortion restrictions – House Bill 453 constitutes a cynical effort to create new, burdensome and potentially dangerous roadblocks to reproductive health care by to forcing physicians to interrogate their patients about the reasons they are choosing to obtain an abortion.

  • Monitoring and micromanaging teachers – As if North Carolina public school teachers weren’t already overwhelmed by the pandemic, low pay, frequently crumbling facilities, burdensome paperwork, incessant testing requirements and overcrowded classrooms, far right, conspiracy-obsessed lawmakers are now pushing a “big brother” bill that would force each teacher to post all textbooks and other reading materials as well as videos, digital materials and other applications used in classrooms on school websites.

  • Anti- “riot” legislation – House Speaker Tim Moore’s tin-eared response to the social unrest that gripped the nation last year in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd during the early, tumultuous months of the pandemic has been to promote a bill that would further toughen criminal penalties for “rioting.” The ACLU of North Carolina has rightfully blasted the bill as “dangerous idea that undermines the very foundation of participatory democracy.”

  • And the list goes on. At last check, lawmakers were advancing bills to, among other things: make it harder to vote, expand discriminatory and unaccountable school vouchers, force county sheriffs to aid in immigration enforcement against their will, erect roadblocks to more widespread COVID-19 vaccinations, make it even easier to expel and arrest students for in-school behavior, allow firearms to be even more easily obtained and concealed in more locations, make it harder to regulate polluters and predatory lenders, and make it harder for employees to sue their employers for retaliation against protected activity.

  • Meanwhile, Medicaid expansion remains a pipe dream and pro-discrimination bills targeting transgender North Carolinians were almost certainly only pulled from the 2021 agenda after intervention by Apple Computer in recent weeks as a condition of the giant company’s agreement to bring a new campus to Wake County.

  • The bottom line: Donald Trump is quickly fading from the national conversation, but sadly, here in North Carolina, his toxic and cynical brand of power politics lives stubbornly on. One can only hope that another round of sustained gubernatorial vetoes over the coming months sends a powerful and lasting message that the Trump wave has crested and is will soon recede.